HISTORY OF ALBANY POLICE

OPINIONS, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF ISSUES CONFRONTING US IN OUR TIMES
thelivyjr
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Re: HISTORY OF ALBANY POLICE

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 02, 2021 1:40 p

I. THE ALBANY POLICE DEPARTMENT THROUGH 1994

FOOTNOTES
, continued ...

53 Rubin, who became an NRC board member in 1976, explains this philosophy and the steps he and NRC did take as follows: “Other organizations like NYPIRG tried to come in and organize neighborhoods. We don’t believe in that: You don’t organize from the outside, you organize from the inside. And when we get a call from people who want to form a neighborhood association, we say, ‘Fine. We’ll give you the publication of how to organize an NA; if you want copies of bylaws, contact NRC, they have copies of the various neighborhood association bylaws. If you want a speaker, we’ll send you a speaker.’ I spoke at early meetings of forming the New Scotland Whitehall NA. . .. I spoke to a whole variety of groups about how you go about forming an association, [and] how do you keep it going. And answering questions. Because people don’t know. ‘What are your boundaries?’ ‘Do you have dues?’ ‘Who can be a member? Is it the husband and wife? Do the kids become members?’ ‘How do you decide on the boundaries?’ ‘Should you be incorporated or not?’ ‘How often do you meet? Do you meet on a monthly basis? Do you have a board which runs the organization between meetings, or is every meeting a public meeting?’ ‘How do you communicate with the people?’ These are all the sorts of questions which we can talk about, because we have dealt with them over the years . . . . We don’t tell them what to do. What we do is tell them the alternatives, and they have to decide what’s best for their own area. And we still get these sorts of calls.”

54 Rubin offers this anecdote as an example, “to this day, I get calls from people for service. I got a call the other day from a guy who lives in a suburban community who owns a house around the block . . . for investment purposes. The house next to his has five units where they play loud music at all hours. The person who owns that building lives in Florida. There’s a manager in the building who has an apartment rent-free to run the building, but he can’t evict tenants. The suburban owner asked for my help. And what I did was speak to our community policeman. I gave him my caller’s name and all the information I had, and he is going to follow through with it. I get these calls all the time.”

55 At the beginning, at least, this disinterested posture acted very concretely as a survival tactic. Rubin remembers: “In the early days, [at] every meeting we had of the Center Square Association, we just assumed that somebody there was a mole reporting to . . . the party people. But again, the positions we took were governmental”—the implication being that they left as little as possible for the party to be concerned about. In any case, Rubin insists that he never knew of any attempt to punish him personally for his activism. “All those years, as far as I know—my name and picture appeared in the paper quite often—no one in the State [where Rubin worked] ever told me to slow down or do this or do that. Never once.” In any case, Rubin held a civil service position that made him relatively invulnerable.

56 For the record, Tuffey insists that this influence is entirely proper: “I have to tell you this, I’ve never in three years here, I have never had a Ward Leader, alderperson, [or] any political person, call me up and ask me to do anything out of the ordinary—ever ask me to promote somebody, transfer somebody, hire somebody. Absolutely not, no. . . . Because you know what I’d tell them? They know what I’d tell them. . . . I mean, they’ll call you up and say, ‘Look, they have a traffic problem here.’ But that’s part of their job . . . That’s done by everybody—that’s not just done by political people. I get letters from citizens all the time, “Can you put a stop sign at the end of my street?” I might get that from an alderperson, but that’s . . . nothing out of the ordinary. And it won’t be a demand; it will be a request: ‘Would you look into this and see if it’s possible?’ Some times it is and sometimes [it isn’t]. And if it’s not possible, then we can’t do it.”

57 Deborah Gesensway. “Neighborhood Groups Carry Clout Quietly,” Albany Times-Union, December 6, 1987, p. C-1. Another community activist explains more fully what the “childlike” relationship entails: “In this town, . . . traditionally people have done what they were told. There weren’t too many voices of rebellion or even at a lower level than that—[of] dissent.”

58 Jay Jochnowitz. “Crime Bill Means $8.5M for Albany, Jennings Says,” Albany Times-Union, September 15, 1994, p. B-4. In theory, the 14 PHS officers plus a net total of 11 officers hired separately on city money would bring the APD from its Whalen-era authorized strength of 320 sworn officers up to a total of 345, which is what Jennings budgeted after taking office. Attrition in both the existing force and the recruit classes, of course, meant that the total would never reach that figure, and by 1995 sworn strength was hovering around 330 officers (just as under Whalen, the actual total had hovered around 300 rather than the authorized figure of 320).

59 Jay Jochnowitz. “U.S. Says Albany Police Grant in Jeopardy,” Albany Times-Union, December 29, 1994, p. B-3, citing a December 19 letter from Assistant Attorney General John Schmidt.

60 Two years later, Grebert would comment to a newspaper reporter that the city had been particularly concerned about picking up the cost of these officers when the grant expired. See Carol DeMare. “Strings Attached to Albany’s Police Grant,” Albany Times-Union, June 17, 1997, p. B-1.

61 Jennings and budget director Chris Hearley are paraphrased to that effect in Jay Jochnowitz. “Albany May Reject $1M Grant for 14 Cops,” Albany Times-Unions, December 19, 1996, p. B-1, in which Jenning also explains “my initial thoughts were, it wasn’t for new cops.”

TO BE CONTINUED ...

thelivyjr
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Re: HISTORY OF ALBANY POLICE

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jul 03, 2021 1:40 p

I. THE ALBANY POLICE DEPARTMENT THROUGH 1994

FOOTNOTES
, concluded ...

62 Kate Gurnett. “Alderman Presses for Cop Grant,” Albany Times-Union, December 23, 1996, p. B-1.

63 Asked why the department chose to target MORE money for these uses rather than technology, Tuffey explains that the department intends to pursue its computerization efforts—notably putting laptop computers in patrol cars, which currently do not have MDTs—as part of a regionalization effort, which will allow it to share costs with other agencies. In any case, he insists that the department is not yet ready for a massive drive to computerize patrol cars because it is only now testing out the technology on a small scale. “I wouldn’t buy fifty of them right now until I make sure the technology is working properly,” the Chief explains. “I’m sure there are going to be other grants down the road for those. I would rather do that and spend the money right now on implementing the quality of life [efforts],” a reference to the overtime grants targeted for Albany troublespots that are described below.

64 Both grants also included a small amount for related equipment, such as four personal computers that the booking clerks would use.

65 Lara Jakes. “Domestic Violence Program in a Financial Squeeze,” Albany Times-Union, January 20, 1998, p. B-1.

66 Budgeted expenses for training and conferences have actually fallen dramatically in recent years, from $15,000 in 1993 to $5,000 in 1997. Most training, of course, is handled at no budgeted cost by the department’s own administrative services division, and that division had not added personnel for three years after community policing’s debut. But in commenting on this draft, one department member points out that since the time of my visit, the APD has beefed-up staffing not just for training but also for information systems in order to improve its administrative systems.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/nij/cops_casestudy/albany.html

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